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forgive each other upon Earth; so that thus uniting in love and kindness, thus mingling and joining in Prayers, for, and with each other, our Prayers may all meet together in heaven, as a sweet Incense, a glorious Sacrifice and Offering; holy, acceptable, and of divine flavour, before Thy throne! Grant this, Oh Almighty Father! for the sake of Thy blessed Son Jesus Christ; to Whom, with Thee, and the Holy Spirit, the praises of men and angels are due forever and forever! Amen.
PREACHED IN christ-church, JUNE 23, 1775; AT THE REQUEST of THE of FIceRs of THE THIRD BATTALION OF voluntEER MILITIA of THE city of PHILADELPHIA, AND DISTRICT OF SOUTHWARK.
AT a meeting of the officers of the third Battalion, of the city of Philadelphia and district of Southwark—agreed that Dr. SMITH be thanked for his excellent Sermon, preached at their request the twenty-third instant; and that he be requested to furnish a copy of the same for publication; as, in their opinion, it will promote the cause of Liberty and Virtue.
Signed by order,
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
“THE following Sermon was drawn up on a few days
notice, and without any view to the press, at the request” of some of the Author's worthy friends, to whom he could refuse nothing of this kind. At their request, it was likewise submitted to the Public, as it was preached, without varying or suppressing a single sentiment or material expression; and with the addition only of a few lines, and three or four explanatory notes.
The Author considered that, although he was called to this office by a particular body, yet he was to address a great and mixt assembly of his fellow-citizens, and a number of the first characterst in America, met in consultation, at a most alarming crisis.
Animated with the purest zeal for the mutual interests of Great-Britain and the colonies; ardently panting for the return of those Halcyon-days of harmony, during which both countries so long flourished together, as the glory and wonder of the world; he thought it his duty, with the utmost impartiality, to attempt a state of the unhappy controversy which [then] rent the empire in pieces; and to shew, if peradventure he might be permitted to vouch for his fellow-citizens, so far as he had been conversant among them, that the idea of an independence upon the Parent-country, or the least licentious opposition to its just interests, was utterly foreign to their thoughts; that they contended only for the sanctity of charters and laws, together with the right of granting their own money; and that our rightful Sovereign had no where more loyal subjects, or more zealously attached to those principles of government, under which his family inherits the throne.
* John Cadwalader, Colonel; Thomas Mifflin, Major, &c. t The Continental Congress.
These, with a few things which seemed necessary respect. ing the clergy and church, whereof the author is a member, are the topics handled in the following Sermon. If the principles it contains are but thoroughly felt, the reader will not regret that the limits of a single discourse would not allow a particular application of them. They will lead to their own application; or, at least, that field is left open to succeeding preachers. Upon the whole, if the kind expectations of the Author's friends can be in any degree answered; if what he has delivered shall tend “to promote the cause of Liberty and Virtue;” and particularly, if it may find its way to the closets, or rather to the hearts, of the Great, and (after all the arguments they have heard from others) can in the least induce them to juster and more benevolent sentiments concerning their American brethren—he will account it among the happiest circumstances of his life. Enough has surely been attempted, by way of experiment, to convince our British Brethren that the people of this country know their rights, and will not consent to a passive surrender of them—It is, now at least, time to pursue onother method, and to listen to some plan for averting the dreadful calamities which must attend a hostile prosecution of this unnatural contest. The Author's wishes for the accomplishment of such a plan, have been so frequently expressed, as to subject him, perhaps, to suspicions which he would not wish to merit. But still, if he could see such a plan of reconciliation take place upon a just and permanent foundation, be would be content, if it were required, to sing his “nunc dimittis,' and to take a final leave of earthly Concerns.” Thus far the or IGINAL PREF Ace, which must now be continued out to some length, to shew the fate of the Sermon; which became an object of considerable notice and controversy, of praise and censure, in Great-Britain, as well as in America, according to the different principles of its readers. Having in a few weeks, run through several American editions, viz. in the States of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and some of the nearest neighbouring states; the first mark of displeasure which the Author received on account of it, was from governor Tryon
at New-York, who told him that he had considered it as his duty, to transmit a copy of it to the Bishop of London, as well as a copy of Mr. Duche's Sermon, which was preached a few days after this Sermon, to another city Battalion. Governor Tryon added that he did not doubt but that the Bishop would soon signify his highest disapprobation, and severe censure of both Mr. Duche and myself. I replied briskly to his Excellency (intending it to be understood as a sneer upon his officiousness) that I had already sent a copy of the Sermon, as well as of sundry other proceedings of the Clergy, both in their civil and religious capacity, to the Bishop; that, as to myself, I had well weighed the principles contained in the Sermon, before I submitted them to the public, either from the Pulpit or the Press; and that I must take my chance of the Bishop's pleasure or displeasure. The anxiety with which, as I understood, from some of my friends afterwards, governor Tryon had frequently inquired of them—“Whether they knew that I had received any Reprimand from the Bishop,” inclines me to believe that he had not thought it beneath him, to be active in advising such reprimand; which, if ever sent, never came to my hand, although I received several letters from the Bishop afterwards (who was a good man); some of which may appear, if I live to complete another publication, intended on sundry interesting civil Topics. The first account, therefore, which I received of the reception of the Sermon in England, was from Dr. Franklin, about the beginning of November, 1775, who handed to me the two following extracts of letters to Him, dated in August preceding, viz.
ExTRACT OF A LETTER FROM DR, PRIESTLY TO DR, - FRANKLIN. “I thank you for Dr. Smith's excellent Sermon. If it be “ not impertinent, give him my most respectful compliments “ and thanks. I think to get it printed.—
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM DR. PRICE TO lok. FRANKLIN. “The chamberlain of London has just ordered ten thousand “ copies of Dr. Smith's Sermon to be printed at his expense, in “so cheap a form as to be sold at two-pence each.”